A cute TSA girl said she loved my shirt, which is one of my tasteful Chip n Dale long-sleeves. Hopefully this bodes well for the rest of the trip.
I often read TMQ on espn.com’s Page 2 section, and have for the past several years. It’s actually been one of the few things that I’ve followed for so many years, although I admit that these days I tend to skim over a fair amount of each column — he tends to fall into the same tropes and repeat them past the point of being informative — but hey, it’s his column, and it’s still a (mostly) fun read. Anyway, here’s some thoughts as I was reading:
My All-Unwanted roster celebrates those who got where they are based on hard work and determination. In most of life, hard work and determination are more important than social status or God-given talent. That’s why Tuesday Morning Quarterback lauds hard work and determination on the part of football players who were not born into success but reached success through constant effort. They set a good example.
Consider: This season’s NFL leading rusher, Arian Foster, was undrafted, and he has outperformed dozens of high-choice, big-bonus glory boys. This season’s NFL sack leader, Cameron Wake, was undrafted and has outperformed dozens of high-choice, big-bonus glory boys.
I agree with the sentiment, here, but I also wonder if things aren’t a bit unfair. After all, he often uses the term “high-choice, big-bonus glory boys,” a phrase which does not exactly endear us to such people. And, often, is it really the player’s fault that they are a “high-choice, big-bonus glory boy?” They are usually drafted high because they were very good in college, and being picked high automatically results in big-bucks these days. The “glory boy” aspect you might be able to make a case for, but I actually think that’s more of an exception than a rule. And also, aren’t some of the best players in the game, like Peyton Manning, Joe Flacco, Matt Ryan, etc. “high-choice, big-bonus glory boys?” Well, maybe not the “glory boy” title, but the genera thrust behind TMQ’s assertion seems to be more on the aspect of being highly-drafted and highly-paid.
In the end, I would like it better if he just celebrated the achievements of players who have worked their way into the system, rather than feel like they can only be held in admiration if their counterparts, those who were drafted high and paid well, are presented as me-first divas that don’t do any hard work at all.
Using a seeded NFL tournament would mean winning would be rewarded and losing penalized — isn’t this what fans want? The current system rewards luck of the draw in division affiliations. The only possible effect of a seeded format would be ensuring the best teams reach the playoffs!
A seeded tournament would in most cases eliminate those awkward late-season games in which teams have locked their best playoff positions and start practice-squad members. If the playoffs were a seeded tournament, even the top teams usually would have incentive to win their final regular-season games.
A seeded tournament would eliminate most late-season absurdities, such as Sunday’s situation in which the Seattle-Tampa game meant nothing to Seattle. Although the loss dropped the Seahawks to 6-9, the team knew, before kickoff, that it would play for the division title the next week regardless of the outcome. Seattle coach Pete Carroll seemed to call lots of mega-blitzes against Tampa hoping to fall behind quickly so he’d have a respectable reason to pull starters and let them rest. A seeded format would prevent most such nonsense.
Most important, a seeded format would ensure better playoff matchups. Isn’t this what every NFL viewer and spectator wants? And yes, a seeded format could result in an all-NFC or all-AFC Super Bowl. If the pairing is the two best teams, their conferences shouldn’t matter. Do you know, or care, which conference currently leads the NFC-AFC Super Bowl results rivalry? Neither do I.
Personally, I really don’t care if a 7-9 team makes it into the playoffs; if they are truly a bad team, they will be eliminated quickly. And if they aren’t, they can go on to win the Superbowl. I can understand the idea behind the seeded approach, but there are some things that get lost in the shuffle:
- Currently the format makes sense in that the Division winner gets to go to the playoffs. If teams know that by mid-November they have no hope of making the playoffs, why would fans care anymore? Why would players care? Sure, you can still play to win each game, but you just as well might see (ironically enough) teams playing their practice squads, just to see how the players do in an actual game.
- I think rivalries would lose a lot of their punch in a seeded tournament. Currently, you can still have a lot of drama at the end of the season as two division foes battle it out, knowing that the loser will not get into the playoffs. In a seeded tournament, it’s more likely that the final games will still be meaningless for a lot of teams: some won’t have any hope of getting in, and others will not have any adjustment in their seeding.
Suffice to say that I just think that a seeded tournament might solve the “problem” of one 7-9 team getting in to the playoffs, but would introduce a whole new set. And personally, as I mentioned before, I don’t care enough about that one 7-9 team to tear the whole thing down.
But let’s not forget the Crabtree Curse, which TMQ sees as all too real. In 2008, Singletary fought to make his players buy into the notion that no one is bigger than the team. It worked, and San Francisco began to win. Then the 49ers used a high first-round draft choice on me-first Crabtree, watched him stage a prolonged holdout, then rewarded him with a $15 million bonus for going me-first. So much for the team commitment business.
I’m not a fan of Crabtree’s antics, either, but this is one of those tropes I mentioned above. TMQ has hated Crabtree since the holdout, and has since has gotten as petty as to ascribe all of the 49ers problems to a single player. No, it can’t be that the 49ers have a whole host of issues, like a coach that was in over his head, or uncertainty at the QB — no, if only they had cut Crabtree during the holdout, they certainly would be in the Superbowl by now!
And, you can bet that if the next coach manages to make the 49ers winners with Crabtree, TMQ will gloss over his “Curse.”
But this section is the one that really made my jaw drop:
Practically everyone believes Christmas has become excessively materialistic — too much focus on piles of junk recipients don’t even want, much less need, coupled with (for Christians) hardly any mention of the original spiritual significance of the day and (for those who celebrate secular Christmas) hardly any mention of the less fortunate.
Cash gifts solve the economic objection, but flunk on sentimental value. If family gift giving consisted of everyone exchanging boxes containing $50, economic efficiency would rise but the gift ritual would seem a waste of time.
So here is TMQ’s suggestion for the 2011 holidays — give the gift of receipts for charitable donations. Give money in your recipient’s name to any charity, school or arts organization. Wrap the receipt in pretty foil paper. You’re not wasting dollars on some hunk of junk your aunt doesn’t even want; you are doing something good for the world. You can feel good, and the gift recipient can feel good.
I mean, seriously? Hey, charity is great and all, but has Mr. Easterbrook really thought this thing out? Let me list the ways why I think that this fails on many levels:
- Okay, for starters, the whole point of giving a gift is that it’s something that the recipient wants. Call it greed if you like, but if I give a gift of pork rinds to a vegan, they probably are not going to be happy about it, regardless of my intent. So, unless someone has asked for a charitable donation in their name, or is really into a particular charity, this is just bad gift idea.
- I will wager you anything that you like that TMQ, for Christmas 2011, will not follow his own advice, and will not buy solely charitable donations in the recipient’s names for all of his family and friends.
- Likewise, I will wager you anything you like that Mr. Easterbrook would not feel good if, in Christmas 2011, all he received was charitable donations in his name from his family and friends.
- I’m guessing that Mr. Easterbrook does not have to get gifts for any young children. I can say with certainty that the vast majority of children will not “feel good” if all of their gifts are charitable donations made in their names.
- The whole gifts as charitable donations approach has often come off, to me, as actually self-serving for the buyer; you should feel good when giving a gift to someone else because you know that you have given them something that they will enjoy and/or cherish. If that’s what they want, great. But don’t just assume that others want that because you think it would “better” for them. You can donate money any time of the year — why wait until Christmas? Better yet, why not donate money to charity *and* give presents to those that you love? Nothing says it has to be one or the other.
- This piece was inspired by an article Mr. Easterbrook read about a company that was devoted to helping rich people who got a lot of gifts dealing with the “problem” of storing them. I suspect this piece was a knee-jerk reaction to the article, and hence why it wasn’t thought out at all, because he also missed a key aspect of gift-giving: being thoughtful about what you are getting. If you’re actually, you know, paying attention to the person or even, heaven forbid, ask them what they want, you’re much less likely to get them something that they don’t want. This Christmas, I watched a lot of presents exchanged, and all I heard was how much the people loved what they got.
- Finally, how exactly do charitable donations do better by the criteria that Mr. Easterbrook himself set out? Maybe my aunt doesn’t want to get a slip of paper saying that I made a charitable donation in her name. It’s not sentimental, either, unless it’s a cause that she’s deeply involved in. So here’s an even better idea — give $50, and let the other person decide if they want to made a donation, and if so, let them choose which one.
As Mr. Easterbrook himself often says: “Ye gads.”
I realize that it’s odd to take a stance “against” charitable donations as gifts, but to me, it smacks of both laziness and thoughtlessness by the gift-giver; laziness, because it means that the gift-giver hasn’t even taken the time to find out where I usually shop and gotten me a gift card, and thoughtlessness, because while giving cash may be “lazy” as well, I love getting it — it’s something I can use, and for any variety of purposes (like, oh, I don’t know, making a donation of my own?). Charitable donations, on the other hand, (esp. those that go to the gift-giver’s favorite charity, and not your own) is nothing that I can use; it’s a memory that belongs to someone else.
Still no full body scanners — I’m getting disappointed. How am I supposed to get super powers without getting bombarded by xrays?
There’s a Dunkin Donuts stall across from my gate. I’m thinking about grabbing some and bringing on board as my secret stash.
Check-in and security lines remain fine. A little surprising, given the traffic getting here. The real question, though, is if there is a troublesome delay awaiting me….
I promised myself that I wouldn’t upgrade my laptop until I had saved up to certain point — I reached that moment earlier this month, and while I could have waited until January, I wanted to have my new toy for the Christmas break.
Hence, I am now on the trip home with my new Thinkpad W510 — a mobile workstation for the modern nomad. I also jumped and upgraded the RAM from 2gig to 8; coupled with the i7 processor, it should be rather spiffy.
Once I’m home I should be able to test it out and start loading up vital programs. Like WoW.
And the game ideas keep coming. Which is quite cool, so long as I can actually finish them all.
We had a meeting today to narrow down some of the ideas for our internal pitches. Both of my favorites got through, so now I just need to flesh them out enough for the 2 minute pitch next week. Due Friday. I suspect I’ll be tinkering around with them this weekend; when I’m not knee-deep in World of Warcraft, anyway.
Also, I had an idea for a sequel to one of our games today — one of those moments that really came out of left field. I bounced it off of some coworkers, and I think it’s got some battleship-class-weight to it. So, I just want to write up a quick draft of the idea so the whole game design team can look it over.
Naturally, I was already planning to work on some other stuff as well, this weekend, so if I can pull it all off, I’ll be impressed.
Just got done meeting with a couple of friends about a side game that we’ve been working for about a year, now. Naturally, things have slowed down ever since we all got jobs (got paid again today! Woo! It never gets old…), but I’m hoping it can be picked up again.
Esp. since I’ll be helping a couple of other friends with their own game, and we want to get the first pass of the levels wrapped up by Christmas.
And this is not including the internal pitches for work.
This was a bad time for the latest World of Warcraft expansion to come out.
Last night I configed my blog to allow me to use a handy-dandy app for my Andriod phone that let’s me post from the phone itself.
Hence, this just a test.
Should be interesting as I have no spellcheck safety net here….
I just realized that currently the Cleveland Browns (5-7) have a better record than the two teams where their former QBs went: Derek Anderson with the Arizona Cardinals (3-9) and Brady Quinn with the Denver Broncos (3-9).
I have to be honest: I was wondering if they would suddenly blossom, and the reason for their poor showings really was the result of just the Browns being so dysfunctional. Well, while the Browns management team was pretty loopy before Holmgren arrived, apparently the organizations of the Cardinals and Broncos aren’t any better.
And hey, at least Derek never blew up at the press while he was in Cleveland….
I passed my 3-month probationary period at work last week, meaning not only am I now eligible for vacation days and health insurance, but I have also been getting regular paychecks for 3 months! Ye gads! Here’s hoping that I can maintain this for a long time, for a change. After the past couple of years, featuring more time spent not getting paid than getting paid, it’d be nice to have that trend reversed. Besides, I need to refresh that unemployment benefits pool for myself, as working in the games industry, one is never entirely sure just how secure things are (see: A.P.B.).
Naturally, the good thing is that I have been slowly rebuilding my finances. Unemployment had helped, but if I had not had my savings, it would not have been nearly enough. I also had to cash in one of my CDs, which was painful, but hey, that’s what it was there for; I still have one left, which hopefully can just stay put for a while. As I slowly rebuild my account, I’ve been trying to still keep expenses down — brown bagging lunch (or “leftover plastic grocery bagging lunch, to be more accurate) remains a popular hobby, although I don’t do it every day.
I also mentioned health insurance — I finally got on the company plan, which means I can cancel my Oxford coverage. I have to admit: this is a little spooky for me. Recall, I never had COBRA when Rebel Monkey went under, and while I was at OneNine Studios, we didn’t have health insurance as part of the package. So I’ve been paying solo for about 18 months. So while I’m desperately glad to have the ability to get back on a health plan (and save some money), I also need to make sure that I’m all set for doctors, dentists, and vision people (optometrist or something?).
Oh, but that’s right: I finally have dental and vision on this plan. Nothing major (I’ll have to pay for glasses/contacts on my own) but I can get my eyes checked again, and start seeing the dentist once more.
Now if I can just get into the gym and start really using that reduced membership rate that I’m paying, all will be spiffy.
And, I have to admit, having a steady job over the upcoming holidays will be probably the best Christmas present I could get.
ESPN.com has a rather nice “Outside the Lines” report on Cleveland. It’s suppose to be about the reaction the city had to LeBron leaving, but LeBron’s departure is really more of a subplot, as the writer actually “goes native,” and gets rather attached to my old hometown. It’s actually quite a touching piece, and is something that I think that a lot of people who are from these old-school, blue collar towns can appreciate. It certainly talks a lot about the love the town has for its sports, but also about just what it’s like to grow up in a city that has been struggling and looking to turn the corner for the past decade.